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Foam decor prototype.
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OniTora
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2010.10.23(Sat)11:04    Post subject: Foam decor prototype. Reply with quote

So I'm going to be putting together a 37gal tank soon. It's nearly the size of a big screen TV from the front, so I want it to be striking both from a distance, and up close. I can't seem to find any decor to match my taste though. So... I'll make some..?

What you are about to see is a prototype of the concept for a 5gal tank. I wanted to hit all the obstacles and make sure it works long term before I spend the time making a detailed one for my big tank. This one isn't designed to be beautiful, just to try a few techniques and see how the work so I can make the next one from experience. Judge accordingly. ^_-

First I roughly cut pink insulation foam to the shape I wanted. I glued it together with elmers (it's really the best thing to use). Then I cut in my shape and texture (tried a few different styles). The I coated it in black latex to give me a primer to work up from, shadows in the reccesses, hide seams, and protect the foam from the last step. Then I applied shades of acrylic paint to give it color and depth. Lastly I sealed it with Krylon Clear Coat, hoping to keep the water safe from it, and it safe from the water. Oh yeah, then as a true last step I siliconed the heck out of it and stuck it in the tank!

I have no idea if it will stay down or float. I have no idea if it will toxify the water. I'm going to run it for a few days with charcoal to (hopefully) remove anthing that leaches out, then drop a few feeder guppies in it as test cannaries. Appologies to PETA.

If everyone is alive in a month, I'll start work on the real thing, and post progress of that if there's interest!





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SoS
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003
Location: PA, USA

PostPosted: 2010.10.23(Sat)13:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pink foamboard is safe. Krylon spray paint is safe. Not sure about the clear coat. What kind of black latex did you use?


Looks very cool btw Very Happy
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150 Gallon (567.811768 liters) community tank, 50 Gallon African Tank, 7 reef tanks, 6 FOLR, 28 freshwater tanks
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2010.10.23(Sat)14:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it!

I wish I had the patience to make my own decorations! Smile
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KhiaraFish
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Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN

PostPosted: 2010.10.24(Sun)2:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks great, I thought about trying something like that in my 30 gallon, but I didn't. Now I kinda wish I had. Rolling Eyes
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Please, oh Please can someone help me!?

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OniTora
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2010.10.26(Tue)13:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words! Very Happy

The latex is just a flat black, I'm not sure what brand or make up. My hope is that after having put on many heavy coats of the spray sealant that it won't matter what I used, because it will never come in contact with the water. An aggressive algae eater could scrape through this coating, I suppose, but I don't intend to house one in the tank.

I'll fill the tank with water tomorrow and start the carbon filtering. I'll post another pic.
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OniTora
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2010.10.27(Wed)3:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voila!



It's not floating- That's a great start! ^_^
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KhiaraFish
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Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Location: Saint Paul, MN

PostPosted: 2010.10.27(Wed)6:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks great, what are the gravels beds on the decor for?
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Please, oh Please can someone help me!?

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SoS
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003
Location: PA, USA

PostPosted: 2010.10.29(Fri)11:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks Awesome! I will definately be stealing that LOL!
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OniTora
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2010.10.30(Sat)12:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

WAIT! Don't steal my idea!

The good news is that the test worked. I found out if this method works without killing any fish!

The bad news is it didn't work. -.-'

I used KRYLON Crystal Clear: Acryylic Satin Clear protective non-yellowing clear finish- And it failed epicly.

Now, I think I had two problems. You should wait for 48 hours before adding water to Silicone. I sealed my peice down with a spread "thin" later of silicone, and realizing there was less surface area for drying, and more than just a bead around the edge of a tank, I doubles that and gave it a little over 4 days. I don't think this was long enough. It came up. But there's more to this story.

After 2 days of sumbersion with a pump (no carbon) water was good. Day 3 revealed a little bit of cloudiness. Day 4 was very cloudy. On the fifth day it arose from the bottom and the tank was found with quite a bit of foam coming out of it. As though I had added a spoonful of dishsoap to the tank.

My first hope was that the silicone had come loose, and the sealent had held- But upon review I found the sealent had worn through in several places.

First off, what caused the foam? Has anyone ever filled a tank before silicone was cured? Does this make the water cloudy, and can it make it foam?

As for the sealent, I am now considering the work "acrylic". This means it's water based. That probably means it's water soluable..? I was hoping "outdoor use" implied it would survive in the rain...

So, fellow fish DIYers, what should I try for my next test as a sealent?

Oh yeah, and the gravel beds were a test. I tried to involve a few different ideas, styles and textures to give me a basis for the next (what I hoped would be the final) model. In the 37gal version, I'm toying with making larger holes down into the foam, and covering it with a gravel bed so I can put live or fake plants in the piece itself.
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